Tuesday 1/2 ~ Your soul is getting along well

The scripture for today, January 2 (1/2), is 3rd John 1:2 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

inside-cover-medium“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”

Our health may be bad, our finances in an upheaval, our home damaged by wind or water, our job about to be lost. But we can still smile.

We can still rejoice that our “soul is getting along well.”

When problems come into our life ~ and they do ~ remember the most important thing is your soul. No one and no thing can touch your soul as long as you are safe in the arms of Jesus. So when problems do come, you can still with confidence rejoice that your “soul is getting along well.”

Sunday 12/31 ~ Only forever

The scripture for today, December 31 (12/31), is Luke 12:31 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BOOK 7-SHADOW-ChildsCartoonMedium“But seek his kingdom and these things will be given to you as well.”

Do we actively seek God’s kingdom? Or do we drift and feel like God should feel obligated to take us into his kingdom and into his heaven? Do we feel like we’re “not so bad”, so God would be bad to not take us into his kingdom and into his heaven?

Heaven is God’s home, not ours. God has a door into his home, just like we have a door into our home. God is not required to open that door to just anyone, just like we are not required to open our door to just anyone.  We cannot just show up at the door and smile and assume he will let us in, any more than people who knock on our door and smile can assume we will let them in.

We let people into our home who we have gotten to know and whose motives we trust. Have you given God a chance to get to know you and trust your motives? Are your motives to enter heaven, God’s home? Do you even like God?

This life we live on earth is not our permanent life or residence. This is just the foyer to our eternal home. Do we live like the earth is all there is? Do you fear hell?  Do you prefer heaven?

You are about to enter a brand new year. Today, decide to start over fresh and set your new goal: To live in God’s home where there are no more years. Only forever.

Scripture for Friday 12/8 ~ Why Am I Here?

The scripture for today, December 8 (12/8), is Ecclesiastes 12:8 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-REV-Cover-No Logo-KINDLE-medium” ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the teacher. ‘Everything is meaningless!’ “

Several years ago some Christians in England did a sidewalk survey in the downtown of a major city. One of their inquiries was: “What question about your life do you ask the most?”. The answer almost always was, “Why am I here? What is life all about?”.

The entire book of Ecclesiastes is about all the things the richest and most powerful man in the world did in order to have an enjoyable and fulfilling life: He built mansions and grand temples, he cultivated great gardens, he brought in gold and precious stones and fabrics from around the globe, he had numerous wives and mistresses, he built the largest army and navy in the world, he studied every possible subject. At the end, he said it was all meaningless.

The meaning of our life is that we were born to die. This life is temporary. This life is the foyer of the life we will have eternally ~ a life in heaven or hell. We were not put here just to have fun, but rather to take as many people with us to heaven as possible.

How do we do that? By continually studying and following our manual the Bible that our Creator gave to guide us through this temporary life and into our eternal life ~ our final destination ~ and encouraging others to do the same. Then applying it to our everyday life.

That is the meaning of life.

 

Scripture for Tuesday, October 3 (10/3)

The scripture for today, October 3 (10/3), is John 10:3ff as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 8-ComeFlyWithMe-Cover-Medium-New“The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out….I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.”

First of all, we use the term saved/salvation so loosely, we tend to forget what we are being saved from. We are being saved from hell! This is not a minuscule matter.

Second, how do we avoid hell? Through Jesus! This is the only way.

How many of us have been to funerals where the deceased was preached into heaven? So many people believe they are “good enough” or “not too bad” and so God would be horrible to not let them into heaven. Such people will climb in through windows so to speak into heaven as the “thieves and robbers” Jesus referred to.

But heaven is God’s home, not ours. He has a gate into it, just like we have doors on our house. Just like we are not obligated to open the gate or door into our home to just anyone, God is not obligated to open his gate to just anyone. Our door and God’s gate are there for a reason.  Let us enter heaven through the gate ~ Jesus.

Then God will smile and say, “Welcome home.”

Scripture for Saturday, September 30 (9/30)

The scripture for today, September 30, is Luke 9:30f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Medium“Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.”

Hebrews 5:7 says something very startling to most people. “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death.”

Jesus did not look forward to going to the cross, even though many thousands of others had died that way. Why was it different for him? Because he had to take on all our sins as though he had committed them himself ~ every lie we’ve told, every time we cheated, every insult, every slander campaign against another, every adultery, every murder ~ everything ~ all our sins! The sins of the whole world! How could he bear it?

Not only that, but he had to experience both physical and spiritual death. Spiritual death means being separated from, being forsaken by God. What a terror to experience!

And so, a few weeks before his crucifixion, as he prayed on the mountain, Moses and Elijah appeared to him and they spoke about his death. They surely gave him the courage to do what had to be done to save you and me who deserve hell.

The crowning glory of this conversation with Moses and Elijah is that God reassured him by announcing, “THIS IS MY SON! WHOM I HAVE CHOSEN! LISTEN TO HIM!”

Jesus was to fulfill the Law and Prophets all the way to the cross. He had promised people, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law and the Prophets: I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). He was determined to keep that promise.

Indeed, on the cross, he said, “It is fulfilled.”  By the time Jesus returned to heaven, he had fulfilled the Old Law introduced by Moses by living it perfectly ~ something no man had ever been able to do. And by the time he returned to heaven, he had fulfilled every prophecy about his birth, life, and death, the first such prophet being represented by Elijah.

Oh, the things Jesus went through to try to save us from hell. Do we do yard work or go shopping or a picnic or a club gathering on his day ~ Sunday?  Let us instead fall at his wounded feet and worship him.

 

Scripture for Sunday, September 24 (9/24)

The scripture for today, September 24 9?24), is Luke 9:24 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

worship-the-first-century-way-cover-kindle“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

Romans 6 explains this phenomenon best. We are to put our old self to death ~ to crucify that part of us that sins and doesn’t care, that part of us that puts ourselves first (verse 7) ~ in imitation of Jesus dying. Once we decide to put that part of ourselves to death, we are buried, just like Jesus was buried (verse 3 & 4a).

And then, “just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (verse 4b). Why? “If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection” (verse 5). Having been “brought from death to life” (verse 13) through baptism, we have been born again!

Jesus’ physical death on a physical cross had a spiritual meaning of a spiritual death. We understand that. Our watery death has a spiritual meaning of a spiritual death also. There is another spiritual death called the second death in Revelation 21:8. If we go through the first spiritual death at baptism, we will not have to go through the second spiritual death in hell. We will have lost our life of sin and in the process saved our souls.

Only a spiritual mind understands this. And how amazing it is.

 

 

Scripture for Saturday, September 23 (9/23)

The scripture for today, September 23 (9/23), is Luke 9:23 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Stephen-Cover-Kindle-Medium“Then he said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’ “

There is another verse similar to this: II Timothy 3:12 ~ “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

Have you been playing it safe? Have you been associating only with other Christians and thereby sheltering yourself from persecution? Have you been withholding the gospel from people who might be persecuted if they believe, even if they will be saved by following it?

Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). To do that, we must seek out the lost and try to save them, even when they do not think they are lost. It will end in persecution sometimes ~ you, them, or both. That’s a fact.

Let us not play it safe all the time. Jesus didn’t.

 

Scripture for Friday, September 22 (9/22)

The scripture for today, September 22 (9:22) is Luke 9:22 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Songs-First 140-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Medium“And he [Jesus] said, ‘The Son of Man[kind] must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

Jesus did not look forward to his death. Hebrews 5:7 says, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death….” Loud cries!

Yet, in today’s scripture, shortly after he announced to his apostles that he would be killed in Jerusalem, over in verse 51 it says, “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.”

Jesus had to use every bit of self-determination he could muster to face that terrible death he had to suffer for us. What kept him pushing forward instead of doing something else? He knew he would be saving us from hell by taking our punishment for us. Then his work would be done ~ all would be fulfilled ~ and he could return to heaven and his Father.

Is it difficult for you to get up on Sunday morning to go to church or would you rather be doing something else? Is it difficult for you to read the Bible every day or would you rather be doing something else? Is it difficult for you to invite a friend to church with you or would you rather be doing something else? Do you love Jesus as resolutely as he did and does you?

 

Scripture for Thursday, September 21 (9/21)

The scripture for today, September 21 (9/21), is Hebrews 9:21f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Medium“In the same way, he [Moses] sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.”

We may not murder or steal, but do we omit going to see someone who is sick or needs our help? Do we sin by attitude with impatience on the highway or grocery store line, or jealousy? Sin in the Bible is always associated with blood.  When we sin, Satan celebrates by paying us all that he is and has ~ death.

The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). This is what we earn for sinning.  This is what we deserve for sinning.  Death means separation. In a physical sense, we are separated from people living on earth. In a spiritual sense, we are separated from God in heaven. God is life, and cannot dwell with death. It is not in his nature.

When we sin, Satan holds us hostage and dares anyone to redeem us from our slavery to him. He wants blood. Satan was not bargaining for anyone to be stronger than him. God sent his own Son to do the job. Jesus gave Satan what he wanted ~ his blood, and collected the death wage. Then he tricked Satan.  Jesus broke free.  He came back to life.  He destroyed Satan’s power over us! He not only broke free of death,  he was willing to take us with him if we will follow him out.

What power! What a mighty God we have! On Sundays, do we even care?

 

Scripture for Sunday, September 17 (9/17)

The scripture for today, September 17 (9/17), is Nehemiah 9:17 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-Medium“They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore, you did not desert them.”

Such love! We rebel against God (who is only trying to save us from hell) over and over because we don’t want anyone telling us what to do, and God forgives over and over. First Peter 3:9 says “The Lord…is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

God could turn us all into robots and force us to obey him. But that wouldn’t be Love. God is Love, and he cannot go against his own nature. He does not desert us when our spirits become self-destructive.  Instead, he follows us around and pleads over and over, “Follow my Son, Jesus, to safety!”

Would you be willing to forgive as many times as you expect God to forgive you?  Would you run after someone who wants nothing to do with you as much as God runs after you?